Security, facilities for former VIPs unjustifiable: House panel

Kathmandu, June 20

Former dignitaries, including heads of state, prime ministers, ministers, chiefs of commissions and security bodies, justices and secretaries are using excessive security and other facilities worth millions of rupees from taxpayers’ money, stated the sub-panel of a parliamentary committee after nearly three months of study.

Rented or government residence, deployment of personal and residence security and other facilities such as vehicles, drivers, fuel, maintenance, secretariat, staff, helpers and medical facilities are the types of conveniences provided to former dignitaries.

In many cases, the facilities are excessive, unnecessary and unjustifiable although some are genuine, stated the report of the sub-panel formed by the Good Governance and Monitoring Committee of the Legislature Parliament.

The sub-panel headed by Parliament member Janak Raj Joshi on March 29, submitted its report to the main panel today. The panel is preparing to instruct the government after discussing the report further.

In the name of personal security, up to 23 Nepal Police personnel and 41 Armed Police Force personnel are being used for one former dignitary, the report stated.

Nepali Army has not provided its record to the sub-panel about its deployment for former dignitaries, except what it has provided to former NA chiefs, despite the sub-panel’s repeated request, said its coordinator Joshi.

The report has not been able to provide integrated information about the deployment of security personnel and arrangement of other facilities as the three security bodies – NA, NP and APF – have not provided detailed information sought by the sub-panel.

NP and APF have been deploying escorts of up to seven security personnel to former dignitaries, including former home ministers, according to the report. Former prime ministers are taking 200 to 300 litres of fuel from the state, said the report.

There are eight former prime ministers, nine former deputy prime ministers, 11 former chief justices and 17 former home ministers using the facilities, stated the report.

The state has to bear around Rs 4 million for one former high-ranking dignitary and Rs 3.6 million for one former home minister on average on a yearly basis, according to the report.

Despite the huge drain on the state coffers for the facilities, the home ministry recently drafted a bill mentioning monthly salary, residence facility, vehicle and fuel, private secretariat and staff, additional facilities and special security arrangement.

The draft bill has now been forwarded to the finance ministry. The sub-panel suggested that the bill should not be introduced in Parliament, as the facilities proposed in it are not justifiable.

“Security should be provided only if there is threat otherwise it should be stopped,” the report stated. Since the security provided to former royal family is excessive, it should be reviewed, it said. There are 155 APF personnel deployed for the former royal family.

Former Maoist prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai have been using 23 NP personnel each. Apart from this, Dahal is using 41 APF personnel while Bhattarai 13 additionally.

Former home ministers, including Panchayat time home minister Niranjan Thapa and home minister of the Khila Raj Regmi-led government Madhav Prasad Ghimire have been using security personnel and other facilities, as per the report.

“The facilities and securities for former home ministers should be given only for up to three years after they retire.

Besides, security should be provided only after assessing the security threat,” said the panel’s member Arjun Narsingh KC.